February 6, 2024 at 10:44 a.m.

Father Nellis John Tremblay, 95

Father Nellis John Tremblay, 95
Father Nellis John Tremblay
Father Nellis John Tremblay

Father Nellis John Tremblay, Doctor of Divinity, 95, died Jan. 19 at the Memory Care Center at the Glen at Hiland Meadow. 

He was born Jan. 29, 1928, in Glens Falls Hospital in Glens Falls to Francis and Grace (Cilley) Tremblay. He was predeceased by his mother and father, stepmother, Ida (Gregoire) Tremblay, brothers, Adolphe, Louis, Richard and William, and sisters, Marilyn (Tremblay) Whelan and Barbara (Tremblay) Fish. Those left to cherish his memory are his extended family and the parishioners from the parishes where he served.

He attended St. Alphonsus School in Glens Falls from 1934-42, and Glens Falls High School from 1942-45. At 16, he served in the Army National Guard and received an honorable discharge. At 17, was the head altar boy and during a Novena for St. Anne, she spoke to him directly with the words, “My grandson wants you to be a priest:” One week later, he entered the seminary at St. Thomas in Hartford, Conn., from 1945-48, after which he spent six years at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 12, 1954.

He served the Albany Diocese for his entire career. At his many assignments, he initiated the development of many groups and conferences which aided the parish and the local communities, including starting the Catholic Interracial Council. He participated in organizing self-help groups, and adult-education programs in reading and writing, and earned his master’s degree.

At Sacred Heart in Cohoes and St. Patrick’s in Albany, he “rehabbed” the churches, set up the first Catholic School Board in the Diocese; established the Parish Council Finance Board and joined Model Cities. In 1980, he did a three-month sabbatical in Rome. When he returned home, he was tasked with covering parishes that needed help because of illnesses or deaths of their priests. In 1983, he became pastor of St. Joseph’s in Albany, establishing a food pantry, thrift shop, St. Joseph’s Housing Corp. (to provide decent housing to low-income families), and organized Vietnamese communities, which included Catholics and refugees from Vietnam. He also helped start the Black Catholic Apostolate.

In 1992, he became pastor of St. Cecilia’s in Warrensburg. He participated in instituting the North Country Ministry, Warren-Hamilton Counties Housing Corporation, which he served as president, and the Economic Development Corporation of Warrensburg. During his tenure in Warrensburg, the Knights of Columbus were organized.

He “retired” in 1998 and, as the priest shortage was becoming a burden on the younger priests, made a commitment to be available to continue to serve the Lord whenever and wherever he was needed. He became busier than ever!

On March 15, 2020, he moved to the Terrace at the Glen at Hiland Meadows. He was happy and busy all the time. Everyone, including the staff, loved his positive attitude. On Feb. 6, 2023, he became the first resident to move into the Memory Care Center at the Glen. It took him a few weeks to acclimate and he was soon in his element.

A funeral Mass was held Jan. 24 at Sacred Heart Church in Lake George, with interment at St. Alphonsus Cemetery in Queensbury in the spring. Contributions may be made in his memory to North Country Ministries, 3933 Main St., Warrensburg, N.Y., 12885.


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